This week, the White House hosted the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, Cabinet-level and senior staff appointees, and several key stakeholders for a summit to address the progress and potential in engaging priority energy communities across the nation.
During the event, IWG announced the launch of a new online database that gives energy community leaders and advocates a user-friendly clearinghouse to access funding opportunities across the federal government and summit participants, which included executives from a number of private and philanthropic organizations, who also committed millions of dollars in new funding to energy communities.
Participants included Gina McCarthy, White House National Climate Advisor, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Dr. Brian Anderson, IWG Executive Director and private sector executives and several leaders from the labor, philanthropic and higher education communities.
“We’ve made much progress this year, but there is still so much work left to do to both remediate and diversify the economies of America’s energy communities,” said IWG Executive Director, Brian Anderson, Ph.D. “In the spirit of public-private partnerships, we applaud the private sector and philanthropic leaders here today who also made timely and generous commitments to further invest in energy communities in new jobs, clean energy, workforce development, environmental cleanup and more.”
During the roundtable, participants discussed how key legislative efforts are poised to help spur critical future investment, including the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and the Build Back Better Act (BBBA). As a vote of confidence in the IWG and its whole-of-government approach, new and recent commitments to invest in manufacturing, worker training, and clean energy projects that create high paying jobs in coal and powerplant communities were announced by the following organizations:
- Escalante H2 Power
- Hecate Energy
- Malta Inc., in partnership with Duke Energy
- Sparkz Energy Systems, in partnership with Oak Ridge National Lab
- The Coalfield Development Corporation, as part of the Appalachian Climate Technology (ACT Now) coalition
- The Just Transition Fund
- United Mine Workers of America
- Xavier University
Anderson continued, “When first launched, the IWG committed to demystify the process and make it easier for energy communities to find and access funding opportunities across the federal government—today we took a big step forward to deliver on that promise. The new online clearinghouse, coupled with private and philanthropic sector support serves to bring accessibility and simplicity to those seeking federal funding in support of coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities across the country.”
Established by an Executive Order in President Biden’s first week in office, the IWG is pursuing a whole-of-government approach to create good-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, remediate environmental degradation and support energy workers in coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities across the country as the U.S. prepares to undergo a historic energy evolution to a carbon emission-free electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050.